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City of Huntsville announces hiring of new Music Officer

Published on January 26, 2022

After a monthslong national search that yielded hundreds of applicants, the City of Huntsville has named its first Music Officer – Matt Mandrella.

Mandrella’s hiring fulfills another step in Mayor Tommy Battle’s Music Initiative. As Music Officer, Mandrella will advocate for the City’s growing music sector and help oversee music-related strategic planning initiatives and economic opportunities.

A portrait of Huntsville Music Officer Matt Mandrella

Battle said Mandrella’s experience in music marketing, management and business development made him an ideal fit for the role.

“Matt brings a wealth of knowledge about all sides of music entertainment, from performance to revenue generation,” he said. “More importantly, he understands building and maintaining a successful, diverse music ecosystem will benefit our community for decades to come.”

On Monday, Mandrella attended his first meeting with the nine-member Huntsville Music Board. Members of the volunteer citizen advisory committee are appointed by the City to help cultivate a vibrant music economy in Huntsville.

“We’re certainly very excited to have Matt on board and look forward to collaborating with him to move our music initiatives forward,” said Mark Torstenson, chairman of the Huntsville Music Board. “The pandemic presented challenges to seeing live music, but it’s given our committees extra time to plan and develop strategies. With a Music Officer now on board, good things are ahead for our music community.”

Meet the Music Officer

Coming to Huntsville by way of Memphis, Tennessee, Mandrella last worked as marketing and projects manager for Elvis Presley’s Graceland. There, he was involved with all aspects of marketing for the iconic Graceland campus and served as the primary marketing contact for Graceland Live, a new music venture with Live Nation focused on bringing renowned touring acts to venues at the property.

Though new to the Huntsville area, Mandrella hails from Mobile and earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of South Alabama. He applied for the Music Officer position after learning more about the role and City of Huntsville.

It had been a while since he had visited the Rocket City, but Mandrella said he was pleasantly surprised.

“We fell in love with it fast,” he said, adding his family was particularly impressed by Huntsville’s culture, landscape and hospitality.

“The more time we spent here, the more we realized that it was a really great place to live and where we wanted to raise our family,” he said. “There is such a great vibe from the community and residents, and we feel like all of those things that put Huntsville on so many ‘Best Places to Live’ lists are true.”

Music City Ambitions

The Huntsville Music Audit, completed in 2019 by Sound Diplomacy, piqued his interest further. Mandrella described it as a “great roadmap” for Huntsville’s music city ambitions.

Another piece of that is The Orion Amphitheater, slated to open in May at MidCity. The 8,000-seat venue will not only serve as a regional destination for music fans, but it will also create hundreds of jobs at the amphitheater as well as nearby restaurants and retailers.

“The City of Huntsville is taking music seriously,” Mandrella said. “Those efforts will put us at the forefront with other music cities and help attract new residents and visitors, while also enhancing the quality of life for current residents.”

Before working at Graceland, Mandrella spent more than a decade in one of the nation’s foremost music cities – Austin, Texas. In Austin, he worked for several venues and companies involved in booking, marketing and promoting live music.

Some of his biggest accomplishments there were as Marketing Director of Fun Fun Fun Fest, followed by a role as Director of Business Development at Do512, Austin’s largest and leading source of live event information and a subsidiary of DoStuff Media, an online media group with entertainment websites in more than 20 cities.

“The foundations of a successful music ecosystem are here in Huntsville because you have great fan enthusiasm, venues and an existing local music community packed full of fantastic musicians,” he said. “It’s a very exciting time and I’m looking forward to working with the community to help get the tools we need in place to bring more attention to all of the amazing things we have happening here.”